The Two Brothers; or, Why are you a Protestant? No. 4 (Conclusion)
Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1848
Art. V. The Two Brothers; or, Why are you a Protestant ? Concluded.
X. " You will bear in mind, James," remarked John, on resuming the conversation the next day, " that you have pledged yourself to prove that the Catholic Church authorizes superstition and idolatry."
" And if I do not prove it," replied James, "I will abandon the Reformers and the Reformation."
" Since you prefer the charge, it devolves on you to prove it."
" That is not difficult. The fact is notorious."
" Assertions are easily made by the unscrupulous, my brother ; but I ask for proofs."
" Proofs, proofs ! I have them in abundance. What else are your prayers for the dead, your invocation of saints, your worship of Mary, adoration of crucifixes, pictures, images, relics of dead men and women ? What is all this, but the most abominable idolatry and superstition ? What else is your adoration of the mass, and all the vain and empty ceremonies of your church ? O, it is frightful to think to what horrible lengths idolatry and superstition are carried among you ! What more besotted, than for a full-grown man to believe that the priest can make his God at will, to fall down and adore a bit of bread, or to imagine that he is worshipping God by kissing the crucifix and telling his beads ? I hope, John, you, at least, avoid the superstitious practice of telling your beads."
" I say my beads daily for your conversion."
" That is enough ; my charge is proved. When a man like you can do that, there is no need of other evidence to prove that your church favors superstition."
" It requires strong faith, no doubt, to be able to regard your conversion as possible ; but all things are possible with God, and he has never been known to deny his Holy Mother any request, for she can request nothing not in accordance with his will. If she intercedes for you, your conversion is certain."
" Worse and worse. You confess all I need to prove my charge."
" Did you ever read the record of the trial of our Lord ? "
" Why do you ask that ?"
" Because you remind me of his accusers, who pretended to convict him of blasphemy out of his own mouth. Yet it is nothing strange or uncommon for children to resemble their parents. You say the Church is superstitious ? "
" The Romish Church, yes ; and I prove it."
" What is superstition ? "
" A spurious religion or false worship ; a false system of religion, credulity, vain observance."
u You would hardly be able to convict the Church, or to attempt to convict her, of superstition, under that definition, without assuming that you have authority to determine, or by which you can determine, what is true religion ; which we have seen is not the fact. Allow me to suggest a definition a little more to your purpose. Superstition is a vice opposed to true religion, as the schoolmen say, by way of excess, as irreligion is opposed to it by way of defect, and consists in rendering worship to an object to which it is not due, or an undue worship to the object to which it is due. It is, on the one hand, the worship of false gods, and, on the other, the false worship of the true God, and includes all you mean by both superstition and idolatry."
u Very well ; I say the Romish Church is guilty of superstition in the sense in which you have defined the term."
" Superstition, in this sense, divides itself into the worship of false gods, and the false worship of the true God. It will be well to consider each division separately. Let us begin with the first, that is, idolatry, or giving the worship due to God alone to that which is not God ; or, in other words, worshipping as God what is not God."
" The Romish Church worships as God what is not God."
" She says divine worship to the Virgin Mary."
" The proof?"
" She authorizes prayers to her."
" Nonsense ! prayer is nothing but a request or a petition, and may without sin or impropriety be addressed by one man to another. You might as well say, the constitution of the United States authorizes idolatry, because it recognizes the right of petition, and forbids Congress to make any law prohibiting tlie people from peaceably assembling and petitioning for a redress of grievances. As well say, every subject who petitions the king, or citizen who petitions the court or the legislature, is an idolater. Try again, brother."
" Your Church honors her, a mere woman, as the mother of God."
" Well, if she is the mother of God, where is the harm in that, since it is only honoring her for what she is ? "
" But she is not the mother of God."
" That is for you to prove. You must remember, however, that you are to convict the Church of idolatry by the light of nature, and you can in your argument deny nothing the Church teaches, unless it is forbidden by the natural law. Assuming the Blessed Virgin to be the mother of God, as she must be, if Christ is God, does the law of nature forbid her from being honored as such?. This is the question."
" The law of nature, which, as you have agreed, forbids idolatry, forbids her being honored as God."
" Unquestionably ; but does it forbid her being honored for what she is ? "
" But Catholics worship her as divine, and pay her the worship which is due to God alone."
" They call her our Advocate, our Mediatrix, and thus rob Christ of the glory which is his due ; for he is the only Mediator between God and men."
" The only mediator and advocate, in his own right; but, for aught the law of nature says, his mother may be an advocate and a mediatrix under him, by his will and appointment ; for she would then advocate or mediate only by his authority, and he would still be our only advocate and mediator, since that which I do mediately by another, as my minister or delegate, 1 do myself as much as if I did it immediately. These terms, applied to the Blessed Virgin, no doubt imply that she is exalted above every other creature ; but as her exaltation is that of a creature, and an exaltation not by her own natural right, but by grace, it by no means places her in the same rank with her Son, who is exalted above every creature, by his own right, the right of his own proper Divinity which assumed humanity."
" But Catholics pray to her much more than they do to God."
" That may be questioned ; but if so, it is nothing to your purpose. You must prove that they pray to her as God, ask of her what may be rightfully asked only of God, and that they pay her honors which are due to him alone."
" They pray to her to have mercy on them, and mercy is ilie prerogative of God alone."
" Mercy, in the sense of pardon or forgiveness of sin, is the property of God only ; and in this sense, Catholics never ask the Blessed Virgin to have mercy on them. But mercy, in the sense of pity or compassion, belongs to human beings. Thus we say, ' The merciful man is merciful to his beast.' To ask the Blessed Virgin to have compassion on us, and to intercede with her Divine Son for us, to obtain his pardon for us by her powerful intercession, is nothing more than we may lawfully ask of our pastors, nothing more than what the Scriptures say the Lord commanded the three friends of Job to do."
" The worship which Catholics pay to the saints in general is idolatry."
" The highest form of worship we pay to any saint is that which we pay to the Holy Mother of God. If that is not idolatrous, then, a fortiori, not that which we pay to the other saints."
" But you honor the saints."
u And what do you conclude from that ? Does not the law of nature command us to give honor to whom honor is due ? What authority have you for supposing that we pay undue honor to the saints ? "
" To honor them as God, in the place of God, is to give them an honor which is not their due, and is idolatry."
" Granted ; but who so honors them ? "
" Catholics may not honor them as the Supreme God ; but they honor them as a species of inferior gods, as the Dii Minores of the heathen."
" The proof ? "
" The fact is evident of itself."
" Not by any means. The honors the heathen paid to their inferior gods were different in kind from those which we pay to the saints, and, moreover, were paid as doe them in their own natural right, and not as due only to what they became through grace. The heathen offered sacrifices, and therefore paid divine honors, to their inferior gods. Catholics offer no sacrifices and pay no divine honors to the saints ; they venerate them for what, through grace, they became, and they ask their prayers and intercession, which is no more than we may ask of the living, and is no more than your parishioners not un-frequently ask of you,-no more than you sanction whenever you pray God for your congregation, or for an individual who has requested to be remembered in your prayers."
" But you have no warrant in Scripture for praying to the saints."
" That were nothing to the purpose, if true. You bring your action on the law of nature; and when you find that under the law of nature you have no cause of action, you are not at liberty to plead some other law. If praying to the saints is not idolatry by the law of nature, you cannot allege it under the head of idolatry, against the Church."
" But, unless the Church has a warrant in the word of God for praying to the saints, she has no right to pray to them."
" And unless it is forbidden by some precept of the law of nature, you cannot deny her right."
" The Romish Church worships crosses, dead men's bones, locks of their hair, their finger-nails, and shreds of their garments."
" What then ? "
" Then she is idolatrous ; for we must worship God, and him only."
" Worship is a word of more than one meaning ; it may mean paying divine honors, and also simply paying a civil respect, honoring or acknowledging worth wherever we find it. In the former sense, it is due to God alone, and is by Catholics paid to him alone, and never to the objects you enumerate. In the latter sense, it may be paid, and the law of nature requires that it should be paid, to kings, judges, magistrates, to our parents, and to whomsoever by rank or worth is entitled to honor. In this sense, the law of nature not only does not forbid, but commands us to honor or to treat with respect such objects as are related to eminent worth. To honor crosses and relics of the saints, for the worth to which they are related, is, then, in accordance with the law of nature, and it is only in this sense that we honor, respect, or, if you please, ivorship them."
" But you do not honor them merely as memorials of a worth which was real ; you pay them divine honors."
" False ! "
" Not false. Witness the Holy Coat of Treves."
" What of that?"
" Multitudes, in the recent pilgrimage to it, prayed to it, saying, ' O Holy Coat, have mercy on us ! ' "
" The evidence of what you assert ?"
" It is said so."
" By whom, and on what authority ?"
" Do you deny it ?"
" Deny it ? Do you suppose Catholics are so besotted as to pray to what has no life, no sense, no power to help them, and that, too, when their Church, as I showed you yesterday, positively prohibits praying to relics ? The thing is impossible ; no Catholic ever did, or ever could, utter such a prayer. You must not judge our people by your own. We preserve, and we honor, the relics of departed saints; they remind us of the worth of the saints ; and when they do so, we pray to the saints to pray God for us, and procure for us the graces and favors we need. What precept of the law of nature does this violate ? "
" Why not pray directly to God ?"
" That question is out of place. Why do you ask a fellow-mortal to pray for you ? Why do you pray and intercede for your congregation ? "
" But you are idolaters, for you worship images."
" If by worship you mean paying divine honors, your assertion is false."
u Your houses and churches are full of images and pictures, and you kneel and pray to them."
" Kneel and pray before them, I grant; kneel and pray to them, I deny. There is a difference between praying before an image and praying to it, which I should suppose even a Protestant might understand."
" But you break the second commandment; and that your deluded followers may not detect the fact, you have expunged it from the Decalogue."
" We do not expunge what you call the second commandment ; we only reckon it as a part of the first commandment."
" Nevertheless you break it, for it says, ' Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.' "
" Graven thing, not graven image, is the correct translation, and more to your purpose ; otherwise the precept would not forbid making statues of Jupiter, Neptune, and other purely fictitious beings. But do you understand that precept to forbid absolutely the making and keeping of images, statues, or pictures ? "
" Of course I do ; I am not wise above what is written."
" Nobody asks you to be wise above what is written ; the question is, What is written ? Then I am to understand you to maintain that Moses broke that commandment when he made and set up the brazen serpent in the wilderness ; that Solomon broke it when he placed the brazen sea in the temple on twelve brazen oxen ; that it was broken by the images of the Cherubim, who spread out their wings over the mercy-seat where God promised to meet his people ; that our stern Puritans of Massachusetts break it by suspending the image of a codfish in their State House; that Congress break it in ordering a statue of Washington ; and that it is broken by that clog's head carved on your cane, and those lion's-claws on the feet of your table ? "
" No, I do not say all that."
" Well, what do you say ? "
"Why, that the commandment forbids the making and keeping of images, &c, as objects of religious veneration."
" That is, ' Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them,' or, as the catechism says, ' It forbids making them, so as to adore and serve them ; that is, it forbids making them our gods.' "
" But the Romish Church commands, you cannot deny, supreme religious worship to be paid to what you call the sacred Host."
" What then ? "
" Then she is idolatrous ; for she commands her children to pay divine honors to a bit of bread."
" False! She commands no such thing. She commands us to worship Jesus Christ, who is God and man, entitled in his own right to supreme worship, and who veils his divinity and his humanity both under the sacramental species. Jt is not the bread, for she teaches there is no bread there, but the Son who is consubstantial to the Father, and whom we are to honor as we honor the Father, that she commands us to adore. There is, then, no idolatry in the adoration."
"But her teaching is false, the Host is nothing but bread."
u That is a matter which you, by the light of nature, cannot decide."
" But she must prove to me that it is not bread, before I can be bound to adore it."
" Undoubtedly ; but you must prove that it is bread, before you can pronounce the adoration idolatrous."
" But I have the evidence of my senses that it is bread."
" You have the evidence of your senses that the species of bread are there, and that the Church asserts ; but that, under the species of bread, there is the substance of bread, you have not the evidence of your senses ; for the senses never, in any case whatever, take cognizance of substances. You have, therefore, the evidence of your senses against nothing the Church asserts. Consequently, by the light of nature alone, you can neither affirm nor deny what she asserts ; and unless you can deny it, you cannot say that the adoration of the Host is idolatrous. If what she teaches be true, the adoration is due, and commanded by the natural law, which commands us to give to every one his due. Have you any thing more to adduce in support of the charge of idolatry ? "
" Perhaps it is true that Catholics worship, in the strict sense of the word, only God ; but, though they may worship the true object, they render him a false worship."
" That is, they worship him in an undue manner."
" Yes, that is what I mean."
" To be able to say that, you must first determine the due manner of worshipping him. But you cannot do this without authority, and you have, as we have seen, no authority, except the light of nature. Are you able by the light of nature alone to determine what is the due worship of God ? "
u I am able, in some cases, at least, by the light of nature, to say what is not due worship."
" Be it so ; what is there, then, in Catholic worship forbidden by the law of nature ? "
" All her peculiar worship, her saint-worship, her veneration of relics, her beads and crucifixes, her fasts and feasts, her empty forms and idle ceremonies."
" Her empty forms and idle ceremonies ? By what authority do you pronounce her forms empty, and her ceremonies idle ? "
" Do you deny that her whole worship consists of empty forms and idle ceremonies? "
" Of course I do. But be so good as to specify what you call an empty form, or an idle ceremony."
" The light of nature teaches us that God is not worshipped by mere show, by vain pomp and parade, and that no worship can be acceptable to him which is not real, in spirit and in truth."
" Granted ; proceed."
" Your bowings and genuflections, your fasts and your feasts, are a vain mockery, if merely external, and the heart be far from God."
" No doubt of it; proceed."
" Confessions to a priest, external acts of penance, the repetition of paters and aves, and even the giving of alms, are vain illusions, and have no power to purge the conscience, if there be not genuine repentance, deep and pungent sorrow for sin."
" Nothing in the world more true ; proceed."
" The heart must be right ; there must be internal holiness, or all our outward worship will avail us nothing."
" As true as preaching. Go on."
" This is enough. In conceding this much, you condemn your Church."
" How so ? "
" Because all she enjoins is outward, formal, mechanical, addressed to the senses and imagination, requiring no internal purity and holiness in the worshipper."
" And where did you learn that ? "
" Ts it not so ? "
" What proof have you that it is so ? "
" It is what the Reformers and we have always alleged against her."
" If they have called the master of the bouse Beelzebub, how much more they of his household ! I have not asked what you allege, but the proof of what you allege, against the Church."
'' Do you mean to call all Protestants false witnesses and calumniators ? "
" Is it more unreasonable to believe them to be such, than it is to believe that the overwhelming majority of all who bear the Christian name, or have borne it, have, for eighteen hundred years, or from the very age of the Apostles, been sunk in superstition, and guilty of the abominable sin of idolatry ? It seems to me much easier to believe that a Protestant can calumniate than that a Catholic can be an idolater ; and in so believing, I believe nothing worse of you than you profess to believe of us."
" What else can one see in your worship than mere outward form ? "
" What else should you expect to see in external worship but external worship ? External is by its very nature external ; and I am unable to comprehend how the Church should have an external worship, and yet not an external worship. But if you had ever taken the least pains to inform yourself, you would have known that the Church teaches all her children that no external act, which does not proceed from internal justice and sanctity, is, or can be, meritorious."
" You rely on the sacraments."
" Well, what then ? "
" Are they not outward ? "
" Are they not inward ? "
" Does not the Church teach that the child is regenerated in baptism ? "
" She does."
" And it is no superstition to believe that a little water poured upon the head of the child, and a few words muttered over him by the priest, can regenerate the soul ? "
" If you make the water and the words the efficient cause of the regeneration, it is unquestionably superstition, for none but the Holy Ghost can regenerate the child ; but if you understand by the water and the words simply the medium through which the Holy Ghost is pleased to communicate the grace which regenerates, there is no superstition ; for the cause assigned is adequate to the effect. The Church teaches the latter ; the former is the vain fancy of her calumniators."
" If it is the Holy Ghost that regenerates, why can he not regenerate without the water and words as well as with them ? "
" That is a question which does not fall within the jurisdiction of the law of nature. You and I have no right to' call Almighty God to an account, and to ask him, Why do you so ? "
" But how does the Church know that the Holy Ghost regenerates in baptism ? "
" That is a question which pertains to positive revelation, and not to the natural law. The revelation is her authority for what she asserts, concerning which, if it do not contradict natural reason, the natural law enacts nothing."
" There are other sacraments."
u Certainly ; but all are founded on the same principle, and are not the efficient cause of grace, but the media through which the Holy Ghost communicates the graces which our Lord, by his own infinite merits, has purchased for us."
" But any body can receive the sacrament, whatever his internal disposition ; and the efficacy of the sacrament does not depend on the recipient."
" Any body can receive the sacrament externally ; but nobody can receive any spiritual benefit from it, unless he receives it with proper internal dispositions. He who should approach the sacrament of penance, for instance, without all you understand by repentance, would, instead of receiving the fruits of the sacrament, only profane it, and add to his guilt. Tn the sacrament of the Eucharist, he who eats or drinks unworthily eats and drinks condemnation to himself. The efficacy of the sacrament does not, indeed, depend on the recipient; but that the recipient may experience its effects, or that it may operate its effects in him, he must take care that he interpose by his malice no obstacle to its operation."
" But what is the use of your saint-worship ? "
" That is not precisely the question."
" The worship, if useless, is idle or vain, and therefore superstitious. You must, then, prove that it is not useless, or you do not clear your Church of the charge of superstition."
" You must prove from the light of nature that it is useless, or you do not sustain your charge against her. You bring the action, and the burden of proof is on you."
" I accuse the Church of superstition ; and I adduce as proof of my accusation the worship of the saints, which she authorizes."
" But you cannot adduce your accusation in proof of your accusation. The cultus sanctorum is conceded to be authorized by the Church, and the very point in dispute is, Whether that is or is not superstitious. It is only on the assumption that it is, that you can conclude from it that the Church is superstitious. To assume that it is superstitious is to assume what is in question, which you are not permitted to do. You must, therefore, since the point is denied, prove that the cultus sanctorum is useless."
" Reason can see no use in it."
" That, if conceded, were not enough. \ou can conclude nothing against the Church from the inability of reason. Reason must be able to affirm its inutility, or it can affirm nothing to your purpose."
u But I must have affirmative proof that it is useful, before 1 can reasonably assent to it."
" Nothing more true ; but the authority of the Church suffices for that, unless you can divest her of her authority. You are attempting to convict the Church of superstition, in order to be able to conclude against her authority. You must, then, prove that she authorizes superstition, as the condition of setting aside her authority, and, therefore, that what she authorizes is superstitious, as the condition of proving that she authorizes superstition. It is, therefore, not for me to prove that the cultus sanctorum is useful, but for you to prove that it is useless, and therefore superstitious,"
" It is an undue worship."
" That, is the point you must prove."
" Any worship which God forbids, does not exact, or approve, is an undue worship, and therefore superstition."
" Granted ; what then ? "
" What is your authority for saying that God does exact or approve what you term the cullus sanctorum ? "
" Your memory is apparently very short. Let me ask you by what authority you assert that God forbids it, or does not exact or approve it."
" I find no authority for it in the Scriptures."
" That is not certain ; but you cannot appeal to the Scriptures, for you have no legal possession of them and are not authorized to interpret them, and because you bring your action, not on the revealed, but on the natural law. Besides, the fact that you find no authority for the cultus sanctorum is not sufficient for your purpose ; you must have authority against it, and you can conclude nothing against it, unless you find it prohibited by the law of nature."
" I know, by the light of nature, that God does not exact or approve, but forbids, all idle and vain worship."
" Undoubtedly ; but what is idle and vain worship ? "
" The Romish worship of the saints."
" That is begging the question, or making your accusation the proof of the truth of your nccusation, the ordinary Protestant method of proving what they assert against the Church. But proceeding in this way, we shall never be able to come to any conclusion. Is not any worship superstitious in which the worshipper looks for eflects from inadequate causes ? "
" Perhaps so."
" Thus it is superstition to fear bad luck because we have seen the new moon over our left shoulder, or because we have begun a piece of work, put to sea, or commenced a journey on Friday ; to expect to discharge what we owe to God by paying divine honors to what is not God, to please him by vain observances, or to obtain blessings by means of prayers to inanimate or senseless objects, objects which can neither bestow the blessings nor intercede with God for them ; for in these, and all similar cases, the causes are inadequate to the eflects. On the contrary, in all cases in which the effects feared or expected are feared and expected from adequate causes, although there may be error, there is no superstition."
" Be it so."
" Then in order to convict the cultus sanctorum of superstition, you must show that the effects we expect from it are expected from inadequate causes."
" That can easily be done. The saints cannot atone for our sins, and be our mediators."
" Granted ; nor do we expect any tiling of the sort from them. All we ask of them is their prayers."
" Even that is superstitious, because the saints have no power to hear your prayers or to pray for you."
" How know you that ? "
" They are no longer living."
" In the flesh, conceded ; but the Church assures us that they still live in the presence of God, and if they do, they can hear our prayers in him, and do for us all we ask of them ; and how can you, from the light of nature, say they do not so live ? "
" Your veneration of relics is superstitious, for you acknowledge that they have no life or sense to help you"
" We do not expect them to help us."
" Then the veneration is idle, and therefore superstitious."
" In the respect we pay to the relics of a saint, it is the saint we honor; and whatever we expect, we expect from (he intercession of the saint, and through that intercession from God, who is honored in his saints, and who himself delights to honor them."
" But the superstition is in supposing that honoring the relics is honoring the saint."
" The law of nature teaches the reverse ; for that teaches us that honor to what belonged to another, because it belonged to him, is a pious and affecting mode of honoring him. Hence the universality of funeral ceremonies, the marks of respect which all men show to the relics of their deceased friends, especially to the remains of those held to be deserving of honor for their rank, their virtues, their services, their heroic deeds ; and surely none are more deserving of honor than the saints of God."
u Your feasts, fasts, and external observances are all superstitious."
" How do you prove that ? "
" They are all external and mechanical ; and to expect spiritual effects from them is to look for effects from inadequate causes."
" The law of nature commands us to worship God externally as well as internally, and an external worship must needs be external. The fact, that what you object to is external, is, therefore, no ground of objection. Feasts or festivals are merely clays set apart for public thanksgiving to God for his mercies and favors to us, in becoming man for us, in suffering and dying for us, in rising again for us, in sending us the Holy Ghost, in raising up and giving to us such or such a saint, &c. If kept according to the intent of the Church, internal as well as external thanks are rendered by each worshipper, and therefore the observance of the festival is not and cannot be mechanical. The law of nature commands the giving of thanks to God ; and perhaps even the mere external observance of appointed seasons for public thanksgiving is better than no observance at all. Fasts are for the mortification of the body ; they are admirably adapted to that end ; and the light of nature teaches us that the mortification of the body is wholesome for the soul. Moreover, to fast, as required, is also to fast with proper interior dispositions. You cannot, then, say, either that in them there is only a mechanical action, or that we look for effects from inadequate causes."
" But the idle ceremonies and vain observances of your public worship are superstitious."
"If idle and vain, superstitious of course ; but how do you know that they are idle and vain ? Our public worship consists of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, prayers, and singing the praises of God. These you have no right to pronounce idle or vain. Our sacrifice we hold to be a real sacrifice, in an unbloody manner, of a real victim ; and prayers and the singing of praises have, by the common consent of mankind, the authority for determining what is the law of nature, always been held to be appropriate parts of public worship. Much of what you call idle ceremony and vain observance is integral in the worship itself; and what is not absolutely essential is adopted for the sake of decency, solemnity, and the edification of the faithful."
" 1 am not edified by it."
" Because you are not one of the faithful, and do not worship. Satan, no doubt, could himself bring the objection to our worship which you do. Our worship is adapted to the edification of those who worship, not of those who do not."
" But your worship is calculated to lead the weak and ignorant into idolatry and superstition."
" It will be time to consider that objection when you have shown that a Catholic, by practising what the Church enjoins or permits, is rendered superstitious."
" Your worship is exceedingly offensive."
" To whom ? To Protestants ? Then let them become Catholics, especially since they have no warrant from Almighty God to be any thing else."
" Your Church is exceedingly impolitic. The practices to which we object may have been very well in dark and superstitious ages ; but men in this enlightened and scientific age demand a more pure and spiritual worship."
" The policy you would recommend to the Church, then, is, to be superstitious with the superstitious, and irreligious with the irreligious ? If her practices could have a superstitious tendency, it is precisely in a dark and superstitious age in which they would be dangerous, and when it would be least proper to insist on them. If this age be what you suppose, it is precisely now that they are most appropriate, as being in opposition to dominant tendencies. But the Church is not reduced to the necessity of taking the advice of those who despise her, and very possibly the age is not so enlightened as it appears to those whose eyes are accustomed only to the twilight. Have you any thing more to add ? "
" There is no use in continuing the discussion. Let me say what I will, you will dispose of it by declaring it irrelevant, or by a sophistical distinction."
" Do you keep your word, and give up the Reformers and the Reformation ? "
" You have not made me a Romanist."
" I have not attempted to do that; I have simply demanded of you a reason why you are a Protestant."
"I have given you reasons which satisfy me, and that is enough. Each of us must answer for himself, and not for another."
u You pledged yourself, if you failed to convict the Church of idolatry and superstition, to give up the Protestant cause. Do you regard yourself as having made out your case ? "
" There is no use in multiplying words. My mind is made up."
"You have no right to make up your mind without reason."
" My choice is made. I was born a Protestant ; I have lived a Protestant ; and I will die a Protestant."
" If you choose death, you, no doubt, can have it. Almighty God forces no man to enter into life."
" I take the responsibility ; and nothing shall move me."
Here the conversation ended, and the two brothers separated. John entered a religious house, where he resides, devoting himself wholly to religion ; James remains the minister of his congregation. He has recently married again, and he appears to have forgotten his domestic afflictions. He continues at the head of the " Protestant League," is louder than ever in praise of the Reformers and the glorious Reformation, and more violent than ever in his denunciations of Catholics and Catholicity. Humanly speaking, there is no hope of his conversion. It is to be feared that James Milwood is the type of a large class of Protestant ministers. I would judge no individual, but it seems to me that the notion many people have that Protestants are generally in good faith, and ready to embrace the truth, if presented to them, rests on no adequate authority. So far as I have known Protestants, they are ready to say, as said a Protestant minister to me the other day, " I would rather be damned than be a Catholic."